As a toolmaker of 45 years' standing, Edwin Wenkenbach of Norwood, Pa. is an old hand with modern machinery. But nothing produced by the modern turret lathe compares in romance for him with products of oldtime gunsmiths who worked only with their hands.
"The more I got to thinking about those oldtime guildsmen and the romance of the weapons they made," says Wenkenbach, "the more I wanted to duplicate them." So, with little to guide him but his craftsman's instinct (there are no books on how to make a flintlock pistol), Wenkenbach went to work to build a gun exactly as guns were built two or more centuries ago.
Since that beginning in 1950, Wenkenbach has made five flintlock pistols, and each is a marvel of accuracy. One expert marksman fired 40 shots into a two-foot-square target at 50 yards with one of them, and the resultant grouping was no larger than a man's hand. "Percussion caps," says Edwin Wenkenbach, "took all the romance out of gunmaking."